Nightwing: The New Order 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Ryan Desaulniers 

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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Mark: Dick Grayson is know for his perfection; the best ass in comics, the most suave personality, the most kickass combatant — generally the coolest guy in the universe. It’s an impressive feat, then, that writer Kyle Higgins and artist Trevor McCarthy (with colors by Dean White) are able to so thoroughly undermine Nightwing’s image of perfection in Nightwing: The New Order 1 without making us completely turn on the character. Continue reading

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Descender 23: Discussion

by Ryan Desaulniers and Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Ryan D: After last issue‘s cliffhanger, the audience wondered whether or not the self-serving Quon would risk his neck by leaving the relative safety of the ship into the deep waters in which Captain Telsa currently languished, lifelessly. Well, he did, and the sequence of Quon retrieving Telsa looks beautiful. Continue reading

When the Threats Get Personal, So Does The Violence in Kill Or Be Killed 11

By Ryan Desaulniers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

There are different levels of violence in murder, right? I mean, there’s a different intensity to pressing a button and a bomb dropping on a target versus bayonetting someone in the ribs. The first allows one to remain detached, while the other forces the attacker to be up close and personal. While the result is effectively the same — the death of another human being — the latter’s level of “personal” really makes a difference. In Kill or be Killed, we’ve seen Dylan murder, but it’s been clumsy, almost accidental, in spite his intentions; however, we see in issue eleven a new level to Dylan’s commitment to violence, one which honestly took me aback. Continue reading

Elsewhere 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Ryan Desaulniers 

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Mark: I’m unsure how exactly to begin unpacking Jay Faerber and Sumeyye Kesgin’s Elsewhere 1. It’s an issue that’s pregnant with ideas, yet surprisingly without depth. It moves incredibly fast, but when it ends there’s the feeling that nothing has happened. Like buying cotton candy at a carnival, it looks like there’s a lot of substance, but once you’ve consumed it all, you’re still left feeling unsatisfied. But if Elsewhere 1’s ideas are interesting, how come the issue never really takes off? Continue reading

Silence at the Crossroads in Sex Criminals 20

by Ryan Desaulniers

Sex Criminals 20

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

At the risk of sounding dramatic, cliche, or platitudinous: sometimes love is not enough to save a relationship. So many things go into successfully balancing the scale of a happy, healthy long-term romantic relationship, and while love is certainly important, it is certainly not the only factor. This is were we see Jon and Suzie in Sex Criminals 20 — at a crossroads, loving each other dearly, but unable to continue as a couple. Continue reading

Is Time Travel Gimmick Enough in Faith and the Future Force 1?

by Ryan Desaulniers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Time travel is theoretically impossible, but I wouldn’t want to give it up as a plot gimmick.

Isaac Asimov

Faith Herbert returns after a very brief hiatus from her solo series for Faith and the Future Force, wherein time’s been tampered with and Faith sets out to fix it under the guidance of Timewalker Neela Sethi. It’s a simple premise, sure, but simple premises can be great; however, I am finding the nature of this story being based around time-travel to be a bit underwhelming. Nowadays, I feel like a decent time-travel yarn needs a significant gimmick, as the trope’s been so heavily used. Recent titles like ChrononautsGreen Valley, and TMNT: Beebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything show that time-travel can still be done well, but an extra layer of contrivance really helps to help the works stand out. Continue reading

Saga 45: Discussion

by Ryan Desaulniers and Patrick Ehlers

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Ryan D: Since last issue’s final splasy page reveal — which Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples love doing to us — my friends and I have been theorizing what the heck is happening with this male-looking version of Hazel who appears to Alana. The easy explanation would be that Alana is sick with her stillborn child and hallucinating. I find myself extremely pleased now, after reading this issue, that the approach the creative team took here is much more dramatically interesting than a mere hallucination. Having this apparition be a side-effect of the magical abilities which Alana temporarily sports due to her miscarriage helps to further the lore of the Horns’ magical abilities and the context in which they were used, and the fact that Marko, Alana, and Hazel all share sight of this magical illusion-child offers us crushing moments like this:

Continue reading

The Spectacular Status Quo in Godshaper 4

by Ryan Desaulniers

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Godshaper weaves a tale of discrimination with gorgeous parallels to our current day within a new universe. Period. While parallels exist here between the “Dark Materials” series, the comic lives in its own plane, dealing with social issues in a novel, resonating way. While issue four does not break down any new walls in this series, the base-line for this comic is so consistent and lovely and revealing that I don’t even mind. Continue reading

Lazarus X+66 1: Discussion

By Drew Baumgartner and Ryan Desaulniers

Lazarus X+66 1

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Drew: This quote often comes up when discussing historical figures, but to my eye, it’s really all about the narratives we build around people. That is, this describes fictional heroes — from “chosen ones” destined for greatness to utterly reluctant nobodies that rise to the occasion — stories so familiar to us, we can’t help but project them on the world around us. But, like, what does it mean to be “born great,” and how do we distinguish that from someone having greatness thrust upon them? Those kinds of distinctions might make sense in stories where deities and magic put concepts like destiny in play, but the real world is much messier than that. Such is the case with Casey Solomon, whose greatness is anticipated by Forever Carlyle. Is her greatness inborn, or is it something she only achieved in order to live up to expectations? Continue reading

Descender 22 and the Art of the Opening

by Ryan Desaulniers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The curtains rise in Descender 22 on a stage which is nearly bare.

The only indication in the first panel that the comic has begun is the indication of the location, the planet Mata. A gentle blue irises on the right-hand side of the panel, and as your eye travels down the page, it’s difficult to tell that there even are panels. A fish glides into view, adding context to the first panel, then the next panel brings a flurry of fish and introduces an element of direction and movement, down and to the right. The gutters between the panels become more distinct here, before artist Dustin Nguyen, in the last image of the page, gives us the gloved hand, bare wrist, and a touch of the signature red of Telsa’s hair. The reader barely has time to think “oh shit!” before the page turn smashes us into a two-page spread of Telsa, floating and limp, wrapped in a hard layer of bubbles, hopeless. Continue reading